Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I have some sad news to convey. My discernment process, for the time being, is on hold. What was the occassion for this, you ask?

Two weeks ago I went to Fatima to have a talk with my vocational director. I hadn't had a chance to see him since I returned from Madrid and both he and I were desirous to talk about the experience and see how the discernment was coming along. I arrived at Fatima Friday evening, and met Father A. near the shrine and we talked a bit while visiting groups were praying the rosary at the Chapel of the Apparition. The next morning I spoke to him some more; we then went to visit the local (and I guess the only?) byzantine-rite chapel, where I made the acquaintance of a ukranian priest who is a friend of Father A. and also discovered that Father A. can concelebrate in the byzantine-rite liturgy. I was really impressed by this chapel. Though it was really small, I myself felt very small and was full of awe, such was the atmosphere created by all the ikons and the likes. Afterwards, I gave him my prayer notebook and we parted company until after lunch. I took advantage of the free time to confess, to do some shopping (bought an ikon and a book about St. Ignatius), and also pray calmly and without haste. When we met again, Father A. had already read my notebook and we talked a bit about what was in it. I recall he said something that comforted me much: that though I might sometimes have doubts about my vocation, or that I just might have a hunch that I have one, that outside observers can spot such these things better than one can, and that he had no doubts about my vocation, i.e., that I have one. We then talked about me returning to the Disciples, to see if that is where God is calling me, or if he shouldn't start pointing me in other directions. And so I left Fatima that day, full of hope and peace.

Yet that was not soon to last. When I finally got home my mother demanded to know why exactly had I gone to Fatima. And when I finally told her that I wanted to be a priest, things got real ugly real fast (she said things that really wounded me); I never even got to explain the why. The atmosphere at home was ackward for the rest of the week between the both of us. I then sent an e-mail to the Disciples, asking when I could visit them again, and they invited me over for the 2 week retreat that started on the 19th. I asked my dad if he would let me off from work for this. This was the first time I talked to him about my vocation. Though he told me to do whatever it was I wanted to since I'm old enough, he began crying and saying some things that truely hurt me.

Two days later I gave up on going to the retreat; I couldn't bear the pressure anymore. And to get them off of my back, I no longer mentioned my vocation and said that perhaps I'd consider following engineering after all. Perhaps I'm just a coward. Or maybe I just didn't have enough faith in our Lord. I really don't know. All I know is that I felt - and still feel - quite miserable on having given up. For all my enthusiasm and wanting to say "whenever you want me, O Lord!", I ran away at the first sign of trouble.

So for now, everything is on stand-by. I will be returning to the US for an indeterminate period of time. I will try to continue my discernment somehow while there, if God is willing. I will not give up on answering God's call; I just have to manage the nerve to say "No" to my parents' will.

Please pray for me in this hour of hurt and nead. And my God forgive my cowardness and infidelity to Him.

Pax Christi,
Mark of the Vineyard


Totus Tuus Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 5:01:00 PM PDT  

You are in my prayers, Mark, and know that you do not suffer alone. My parents are adamantly opposed to the idea of me serving Our Lord as a priest, too, but He provides us with what we need. I have many friends that I can turn to on hard days with my folks, and I only have one more year before I graduate from college and am free to follow my heart to where Our Lord is calling me to serve Him.
Christ never promised that following Him would be easy, but he promised that He would be there with us every step of the way.
Hang in there, brother, you'll get through this. Just keep praying and perservering. Feel free to e-mail me on hard days and I'll do my best to help you.
May God bless you abundantly in all you do, now and eternally.
In Christ,

Nun2Be Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 6:33:00 PM PDT  

I will definitely pray for you!!! Some months ago I was having trouble with my parents, and even then words "nun" or "vocation" were taboo...realizing that I could not ignore my Jesus any longer, I prayed a novena to St. Philomena [a close saint-friend of mine] for the conversion of my parents hearts...as soon as I finished the novena, by the grace of God, I received an e-mail from my parents explaining their support for my vocation and gave me their blessing ...God's will be done, if something happens it is because God wills it top happen, if it doesn't happen then God's doesn't want it...have hope and faith. Know that you are in my prayers.

Roberta Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 7:39:00 PM PDT  

Know that you are not alone in your struggles! I must say reading your post was like reading a page out of my own journal. My parents want me to pursue my nursing career and after many tears and difficult conversations with my parents I have put my discernment on a bit of a hold... Your words sent a chill down my spine because often in prayer my desire is "wherever and whenever you want me Lord!" but so true at the first sign of opposition from my parents I have put my discernment on the back burner...even though it is such a great desire. I will keep you in my prayer, as we both struggle through discernment- I wish I would be able to give you an easy answer about this one but I myself have not found one yet!

Pax Christi

Mark Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 9:40:00 PM PDT  

This is sad news. I have some mixed opinions about this.

The first is that I can relate to the crisis. I too had a crisis of heart recently, and even made enquiries to go and study law again. But after speaking to friends and my Spiritual Director, I realised that that was wrong and that instead I was still being called.

The second is that the difference between you and I is that my mother accepts the concept of me being called to be a Priest; she's lived with this notion for almost as long as I have, for I told her early on.

There was a Saint that said the one thing we are not bound to follow our parents on is the subject of vocation, but I forget who it is.

So, I say wait, and pray that your family may become happy with the idea, but don't necessarily plan to do something else.

Hope this helps.

God bless,
the other Mark

Anonymous,  Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 5:54:00 AM PDT  

Ave + Maria

Praying for you. It is indeed hard to follow your vocation especially when parents are against it. There are many saints who had the same struggle, so you have lots of company. I suggest you take Sr. Josefa Menedez, as Spanish religious as your patron. She felt called to religious life as a child, but her father said NO! so she waited, and after he died, she asked her mother. Her mother said with many tears yes, but then would cry so much every time she visited Josefa, that Josefa would give in to her tears and leave. She left 4 convents! No one wanted to take her in again! Yet, God wanted her and worked it out so that she entered a convent in France. She had the same struggle and almost left, but perservered to the end. She is a great mystic. The story of her life is called The Way of Divine Love.
In Jesus and Mary,

Nun2Be Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 11:02:00 AM PDT  

Sr Josepha is an amazing example to look at...even though I have the support of my parents, I still have to wait, and looking at her example gives me hope. Pax et Dominus Vobiscum!

Seminarian Rich,  Friday, August 22, 2008 at 1:25:00 PM PDT  


As a man who is currently in the seminary, I can tell you that doubts will plague you for your entire discernment. I wouldn't be so hard on yourself with regards to your parents and even your own personal doubts. It is hard to have parents who don't understand your vocation, since they play such an important role in our lives. But their support is not absolutely essential. If this is where Christ is calling you, He will give you the grace to persevere. Look at the example of St. Thomas Aquinas. When he told his parents of his desire to become a Dominican friar, they locked him in a tower for a year and tempted him with prostitutes. Yet, he has become one of the most renowned doctors of the Church and the most famous son of St. Dominic. Don't give up! As St. Paul says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect through weakness."

You will be in my prayers, brother.

Pax et bonum,


Future Bride of Christ Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 5:35:00 PM PDT  

Dear Mark,
Remember that we all fall, we just have to pick ourselves up again and keep going. I will pray for you. May God grant you the strength you need to stabd up for your vocation. God Bless you.

Dean Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 12:50:00 AM PDT  

Dear Mark,

My prayers are most assuredly with you my brother in Christ! When I first mentioned to my parents that I may have a vocation, they were indeed hurt. My conversion was hard enough for them (mom is Pagan, dad is Lutheran), and then to mention that I was considering the priesthood... They were devestated at first. They thought that I had so much to offer the world so to speak, as far as my current job, and having a family. But over time, they have grown to realize that I must follow where God leads, no matter where that may be. While I will not know my vocation 100% till the day my bishop lays hands on me, my parents have accepted the fact that I may indeed be called to the priesthood. Their initial concern was just for my well being, as they just did not understand what being a priest meant, as many people do not in today's world. To give one's life in this way, or as a consecrated brother or sister, violates modern sensibilities. But in time, through much prayer, and education, and understanding, I think that your parents will come to realize what it is you are attempting to do: follow the will of Our Lord. Do not lose hope my friend! Especially if your spiritual director sees signs of a vocation in you! Once again, my prayers are definitely with you, and your parents.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

Blessings and peace,

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